Archive for The Nourished Mind

Why I talk about eating so damn much.

brownies

girlwith-chocolate

 

Confession:  I am a very reluctant eating habit/nutrition coach.

 

I really don’t naturally love the topic of nutrition—it doesn’t get me fired up, and it took me a really long time to accept the role of nutrition in my personal fitness.

 

Like, a LONG time.

 

 

I was a very stubborn horse that had to be dragged to the water, and had to be dying of thirst before I would drink.

 

But, at a certain point (and I remember that pivotal moment—it’s what I call my ‘tiramisu epiphany,’ and you can read about it here: The Tiramisu Epiphany), I realized that I could not make any weight loss/fat loss progress without making some dietary changes.

 

 

That doesn’t mean it happened overnight!

 

 

My ‘tiramisu epiphany’ was in March of 2006.  Which means that my personal journey to eating better and in a sustainable way (that causes me little life stress, but still gives me the health and results I desire) started over 10 years ago.

 

 

Did it take some time? 

Sure! 

Was the time it took worth it?

ABSOLUTELY.

 

 

There was no major diet overhaul; I simply surrendered the illusion that I could ‘work off what I ate’ and started to pay more attention to what, when, how, and how much I was eating a little bit more. 

 

I made the changes I could tolerate slowly, and began a process of self-education that definitely accelerated once I started working with a personal trainer who provided me with better resources with which to help myself.

 

So I honestly don’t LOVE the subject of nutrition like some people do (which is why they are diet experts with all those credentials behind their names!), but I understand how necessary balanced nutrition is, and the giant role it plays in how we feel, the energy we have, and in weight loss, fat loss, and overall athletic performance.

 

I don’t love nutrition, BUT I do love my clients. 

 

 

And I love to help others have less stress, more fitness success, and more confidence and independence in their own lives, so talking about nutrition, eating habits, and eating strategies has become a ‘necessary evil’ of sorts.

 

 

It’s important for me to share what I’ve learned, through formal education as well as professional experience and personal practice, because it just might help a client, friend or reader like you to shorten the ‘eating habit learning curve. ‘

 

 

Sharing this information might just help you or someone you know to stop depending on the next diet for the solution—from engaging in stressful, restrictive, all-or-nothing approaches, and to make the needed small changes in daily practices that will yield the results we’re looking for.

 

 

And that’s HUGE in my book.

 

 

After I surrendered the illusion that I could ‘outrun my fork,’ so to speak, I also had to learn and come to terms with the fact that my eating habits/patterns were shaped by:  a) the messages I told myself, b) unconscious tendencies, c) compulsive behaviors, d) the urge to self-soothe.

 

 

 

Funny that NONE of those things has anything to do with macros or calories, right?

 

 

The biggest realization I’ve had about the subject of nutrition is this:  Lasting results only come from conscious eating habit change, which can only happen when we first change how we THINK.

 

So really, when we talk about eating habits, we’re really talking about thinking habits—our thought patterns and beliefs, aka: our mindset.

 

I talk so damn much about eating because I loathe people getting all hung up on the idea of the ‘perfect diet’ or that they NEED to go on another kind of diet, or, conversely the belief that they’re helpless in creating lasting change in their own lives, that they’re powerless over how they eat.

 

 

Why do I loathe diets

Because diets breed helplessness and take away from ownership of our behaviors. 

 

 

 

They put the solution outside of ourselves, in someone else’s hands, when the real solution can only be found by doing the ‘inside job’ of changing how we think so we can change how we act.

 

So when I talk about eating, I’m really talking about thinking—about our attitudes about food, helpful or unhelpful beliefs about our selves. 

I’m talking about improving awareness of our self-talk (e.g.:  I always, I never, I just can’t help myself, nothing works for me, I’m just an ‘X’ addict, I’m a stress-eater, I’m an emotional eater—any of these sound familiar to you??), so that we can change our truth, and therefore make it possible to choose differently and make more progress with our nutrition.

 

 

I talk about awareness and attitudes because they create the possibility for ownership—taking full responsibility for all our own food choices, the chance to be ‘the captain of our own ship.’

 

 

Yes, we all come to the table, so to speak, with a certain set of genetics, a certain family food history, and whatever adult eating patterns we’ve developed so far.

 

But these pieces of the puzzle don’t dictate our future—only our consistent choices do that.  Only our consistent CHOICES.  We are in charge of our choices, especially when we take the time and make the effort to become aware of our self-talk, food history and current patterns of behavior.

 

 

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In the end, I talk about eating so damn much because it has such a huge impact on our lives, and I talk about mindset and mindfulness around eating because this is what dictates our relative success or limitations.

As Mahatma Gandhi said,
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.” 

 

 

When we are mindful, we are fully in charge of our choices; we can choose to change our minds about ourselves and food, and that’s when we can REALLY start changing and making those lasting, impactful nutrition choices.

 

 

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xo,

Kate

Fast, Tasty, and full of Protein: Blender Protein Pancakes

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Fast, tasty, simple, budget-friendly and full of protein, Blender Protein Pancakes are one of my very favorite breakfasts…and snacks, too, if I’m being honest!

 

 

Here’s how to make a batch (or two–you know how I love double-batch cooking):

 

 

Ingredients

1 cup cottage cheese (check labels for additives, extra sodium or sugars)

1 cup old fashioned oats

6 egg whites OR 5 whole eggs (depends on your needs)

 

 

Directions

Put ingredients in blender; blend on low for 30 seconds. Turn speed up to medium and blend for approximately one minute until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

 

 

(If your blender is on the fritz, you can also easily use a hand mixer…which I had to do last year!)

 

 

Cook over medium-low heat, use cooking oil/fat of your choice (I often use a small teaspoon of coconut oil).

 

 

I also make a berry ‘syrup’ to go over the top by microwaving frozen berries (add some pure maple syrup, organic honey, or stevia if you want to sweeten it up), or top them with some apple butter or fresh fruit.

 

 

*You can add in cinnamon, vanilla extract, etc. to change up the flavor

 

 

Sweet or savory, these easy to grab-and-go pancakes can be a really helpful addition to your kitchen, too.

 

Enjoy the ‘planned-overs’ all week long!

Scale got you down?

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{On weight, scales, and progress}

 

 

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There comes a point at which the scale may not be a good measure of success.

 

 

 

In talking with some other ladies after my class, it came up that after a certain point, the scale can’t truly measure progress–or even maintenance for that matter.

 

 

–The scale can’t show you the shift your body makes from body fat to building lean muscle tissue;

 

–it can’t show you the strength you’ve cultivated with consistent work;

 

 

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–it can’t reveal the small but significant developments in your musculature–those cool lines, dips, swells and divets that develop from years of effort;

 

 

 

–it can’t measure your endurance, or your grit and heart, or your ability to do and withstand hard things;

 

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–it can’t measure your confidence or reflect the way you carry yourself taller now, knowing what you’ve done, what you can do, what you dream might be possible.

 

 

 

It just can’t.

 

 

 

So, at a certain point, the scale really does become a useless tool for measuring progress. All it can show you is the effect gravity has on your body mass in that given moment.

 

 

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And you are SO much more than that.

 

#nonscalevictories

TTT: Not sure how to build a solid nutrition plan? Start with your DBRs.

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Is your diet random or regular?

 

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What are your Dietary Big Rocks—those things you are committed to doing every single day that are in line with your desired health and fitness outcomes?

 

 

If it’s not a question you can answer easily, then chances are you don’t have them yet…which likely means your daily nutritional choices are a bit random…which means in turn that you’re likely struggling.

 

 

 

So how do we move from struggling, and maybe not being able to see the forest for the trees to eating with intention, purpose and getting better results—without stress or another regimented diet plan?

 

 

 

By identifying the Big Rocks in our diets—the 3 things that have the MOST impact overall on our health, wellness, weight, body fat percentage, or athletic performance.

 

 

 

Just a couple of weeks ago, I’m discovered that I’d gotten away from mine throughout the month of May!

 

 

 

Life’s pace picked up, my dad came for a month-long visit (so grateful), the kids both had birthdays and celebrations, I went on 2 short road trips (again, grateful)….Long story short, my diet became more random and haphazard than I’d like or feel comfortable living with.

 

 

 

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One of those indulgent travel meals.

 

 

So I’m taking this opportunity to redefine my own DBRs. But this also means that I need to clearly define just what the desired outcome of my nutrition really is.

 

 

 

I’ve been listening to several podcasts all about fat loss lately, because that seems to be what most people I talk to seek help with.

 

 

 

I found myself trying to change my own eating patterns to comply with those fat loss guidelines over the past few weeks as well, because the advice given was sounds and seemed effective…Except I was starting to get more off-track with my own diet by complying with rules that didn’t fit MY needs.

 

 

 

I didn’t even realize what I was doing (trying to override my body’s signals and needs in order to do ‘the right thing’) until about a week or so ago when it hit me over the head: I’m not eating for fat loss—that’s not MY goal!

 

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I want to be eating for hormone balance (learning as a I go!), maintaining or even creating more lean muscle tissue, and getting stronger/improving my athletic performance. Which, in my personal diet, looks very different than when I’m eating for fat loss!

 

 

 

LOL/SMH….

 

So my updated DBRs with MY current goals in mind, are:

 

*Prioritizing Protein: eating 5-6 servings of roughly 20 grams per day

 

*Getting AT LEAST 5 servings of veggies daily, and more is always better

 

*Including healthy fats (Omega 3s) for their anti-inflammatory properties and because they add taste and fullness to my meals

 

 

 

Then, once I defined my DNC’s then I got to work on putting them into daily actions!

 

 

 

Here’s how I did it:

  • baked a big batch of salmon filets which I ate for lunch with a salad many days
  • added veggies and protein at breakfast via a variety of scrambles
  • made half my plate veggies in the evenings
  • had Quest bars for a snack most days
  • baked a bunch of chicken breasts and boiled eggs for easy to grab protein
  • cooked using olive oil and coconut oil
  • used avocado and cheese as condiments in many of my meals (esp. scrambles, salads and wraps)
  • got bagged salad a couple of times in the week, too, because the convenience is well worth the cost these days
  • had my kids cut veggies in the evenings
  • stocked tuna and beans in my pantry, and whole wheat tortillas in the fridge, so we could have wraps of some kind OR black bean burritos—always a filling and tasty 30-minutes or less meal.
  • **Cooked everything in double batches to save me time making meals later in the week. This is KEY to my success—or lack thereof some weeks!**

 

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A double-batch of grilled asparagus–worth the time and the gas!

 

Once I’ve got the basic structure for my diet, and the ingredients for the next couple of days ready to go, it’s ‘plug and chug’ time.

 

 

Like I’ve said before, I don’t count macros or calories, I count PORTIONS. If it seems like I’m not getting in my DNC’s, then I ‘double-down’ in the afternoon and evening (like having a #BAS—big-ass salad, for example).

 

 

I find it WAY more effective and WAY less stress to focus on what I’m putting IN to my daily diet, rather than what I’m taking (or leaving) out.

 

 

I continue to plan in my indulgences, too, because deprivation and restriction are NOT part of my sustainable eating plan.

 

 

 

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The Spanish Verdejo I’m currently infatuated with.

 

 

 

After I have my DBRs worked in, then I also add in carbs as sides when I wanted them (sweet potatoes, a slice of toast, some noodles—whatever was available/sounded good), and I make sure the foods I eat taste good while I meet my DBRs.

 

 

 

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One of last week’s big batch/DBR-based dinners.

 

 

Every meal was satisfying, had a little variety most days, felt SO much better and so much less bloated after 4 days of consistency. Phew!

 

 

So what changes or goals are you working on in your daily diet right now?

 

 

Whether our goals are to lose weight, lean out a bit or decrease body fat, create more shapely muscles, develop increased muscular strength, speed and endurance or simply to maintain a stable level of health and wellness, our DBRs matter.

 

 

Our success or continued frustration hinge on the daily nutritional choices we make.

 

 

And this is why defining our DBRs matters—they help us:

  1. focus on the DO’s in our diets
  2. focus on Including foods in our diets, not Excluding them,
  3. keep focused on taking positive and proactive steps towards eating and feeling better instead of having us all hung up on avoiding foods or resisting urges or cravings.

 

So I’ll ask you again:

–> Is your diet random or regular?

 

–> What are your Dietary Big Rocks—those things you are committed to doing every single day that are in line with your desired health and fitness outcomes?

 

 

If you’re still not sure, then it’s time to start by defining your goal(s).

 

After you have your goal(s) defined, then it’s time to consider:

 

  1. a) what your biggest challenges are—the things that might be interfering with your goals, and

 

  1. b) what things might be the MOST helpful in getting your eating more aligned with your desired outcome(s)!

 

Wherever you are in the process, look for the lessons you can learn from your mindset about food and your daily behaviors, make sure to celebrate your small wins, and look for the places where you can make the most impact in your diet without making yourself crazy.

 

 

And on that topic, I’m beginning a 10-week email series called ’10 Steps to a Livable Diet,’ which is a condensed version of the coaching I’ve done in my Get REAL Fit lifestyle coaching group AND my ‘Nourished Mind’ program.

 

The Livable Diet email cover

 

 

If you’re ready to stop chasing your tail and beating your head against yet another diet wall, then maybe you’re ready to try creating a ‘Liveable Diet’ of your own.

 

 

Over the next 10 weeks, I’ll be sharing my 10 steps for ditching the diet mentality for good and creating your own flexible, adaptable and permanently effective ‘Livable Diet.’

 

Sign up here to get my ’10 Steps to a Livable Diet’ email series delivered to you:

http://bit.ly/LivableDiet10Steps

 

 

Each Thursday, I’ll be sending out a single step in the process, with actionable tips and even a cheat sheet to help you start on the path to diet freedom and creating your own adaptable, sustainable, effective Livable Diet.

 

 

FYI: there is ZERO obligation to do anything or purchase anything—it’s purely for educational purposes and I just wanted to make sure you had to opportunity to take part and start tuning up your diet and eating habits RIGHT NOW.

 

#TheLivableDiet

#TheNourishedMind

 

Trainer Tip Tuesday: Not sure where to start? Try at the beginning

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Today’s Tip: When you need to make changes, but don’t know where to start, start at the beginning–of your day, that is!

 

 

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Many of the challenges and pitfalls we encounter later in the day with willpower, nutrition, positive thinking/frustration, or exercise can be alleviated–and sometimes totally avoided–by tweaking one behavior, action or procedure you have in the mornings.

 

 

Recently, I was talking with one of my clients about how we can start to tune up her diet by making one impactful change at a time, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater and implementing a totally new eating plan (aka: making her follow an arbitrary diet).

 

 

We talked about when in the day she feels her willpower and judgment fade the most, and it was in the evenings after working all day and going to the gym right afterwards.

 

 

By the time she got home, it was game on/insert food here QUICK!!

 

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Which made total sense after we took a look at her food journals from the week before! See, they come in pretty handy 🙂 

 

 

 

It turned out, she was eating very little for breakfast, surviving on coffee until 1 pm, then having whatever she could easily grab for lunch, then white-knuckling through the rest of the afternoon, her class and the drive home.

 

 

So we started at the beginning! Instead of trying to address late-day willpower and cravings issues, we decided to implement one change–to eat a nourishing breakfast.

 

 

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After she did this for a week, the afternoon issues basically solved themselves AND she felt so much better all morning long and started investing in a more nutritious, but easy to grab, lunch, too.

 

 

One simple change at the beginning of the day impacted the next 10-12 hours.

 

 

So if you need to make changes, but don’t know where to start, look at the beginning of your day for possible solutions.

 

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Look at your morning patterns, and think about what’s helpful or unhelpful about your actions.

 

 

Keep your changes simple, test drive them for 7-14 days, and see how making those adjustments works for you!

 

 

Start small, stay consistent, stay tenacious.

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Never underestimate the power of consistent, incremental change.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

 

#TheNourishedMind
#smallwinsaddup

Log it to lose it! How food journaling gets you to your goals faster.

scheduling for the win!

Second only to scheduling and prioritizing—or where we are spending our ‘life capital,’ our nutrition is one of THE MOST influential aspects of our overall health and fitness.

 

 

 

What we eat determines how we feel:  how much energy we have, how well we perform when we exercise, and often how we feel about our bodies and ourselves.

 

 

Based on my own personal experiences, and my experiences as a personal trainer and health coach, the absolute best place to start is to a) get really honest with yourself about your current eating habits/patterns, then start making informed choices and changes.

 

 

We also have to accept a few truths to make forward progress with our weight, quality of nutrition and eating habits:

 

  • There is NO magic nutrition silver bullet solution.
  • There are no miracle fat loss or weight loss superfoods.
  • There are no magical macronutrient formulas.
  • Just because ‘X’ approach worked for our friend, sister, mother, cousin does not mean it will work for us (and who knows if it will work long-term for them).
  • Chances are, we really don’t have a very accurate idea of how much/how many calories we are consuming each day.

 

 

 

In order to get the results we want, we have to be willing to put in the effort of figuring out what our food intake really is at the moment.

 

 

We must have the patience and persistence to implement a variety of small changes, over time, to see what work for us and feels right for our bodies and lifestyles.

 

 

Truly, it’s this approach and process that’s helped me stay in maintenance mode for the past several years with low effort. High awareness, yes, but low overall effort.

 

 

So, how are YOU feeling these days?

  • Are you happy with where your fitness, diet and health are at?
  • Do you have good energy most days, or are you feeling not as great as you’d like?
  • Are your pants feeling snug?
  • Are you not seeing the results you’d expect to be seeing from the exercise/hard work you’re putting in?

 

 

If you’re feeling like you’d like your results to show up more, your waistline to tighten up, to have more energy and stamina throughout the day, then it’s time to (re)evaluate your food intake.

 

One of the best, most straightforward ways I know to (re)evaluate our current food intake/eating patterns is by using some kind of food journal or tracking tool. If you’re a fan of using techie tools/apps to track things, then you’ll want to check out MyFitnessPal’s tracker and/or LoseIt!’s tools.

 

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I’m partial to old-school handwritten tracking, and I’m especially fond of my own Favorite Food Journal (you can grab a downloadable copy with this link RLF Daily Food Journal 2016). I like that it’s easy to carry with you, jot down notes in the moment and really SEE the whole scope of each day’s intake easily (without scrolling, etc.)

 

 

 

Plus, most of us stare at screens enough throughout the day, and there’s something to be said about the act of writing that ‘sticks’ with our brains a bit more than simply scrolling and clicking 😉

 

Like I said, I’m a little bit old-school 😉

 

 

No, it’s not slick or sexy, and I’m not going to show you a 6-pack abs shot to entice you to use it, BUT using this food intake/eating patterns tracking tool is VERY effective.

 

WHY?

 

 

 

Because tracking your food/food journaling, especially in a way that also tracks your emotions, challenges and locations, reveals:

 

  • Scheduling deficiencies—the times of the day(s) when we have problems or issues.

 

  • Low willpower times of the day(s)—the times in the day(s) when we are most likely to make poorer decisions about what to eat or just eat too much of something.

 

  • If we are underfeeding ourselves—letting our blood sugar drop too far so that we feel poorly and/or make less helpful decisions about what to eat.

 

  • Imbalances in macronutrients or food groups–We might think we’re getting enough vegetables, or protein or not eating that many starchy carbs or sugary treats, but when we write things down we see the absolute evidence/data of what we are really consuming each day/week

 

  • Low meal satisfaction/unmet needs—those times when we ate something that seemed like it was healthy and/or should be filling, but it wasn’t and we went back sooner than is ideal to eat more or eat something else.

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When we review our data from our journaling, we can see ‘where the wheels come off,’ so to speak.

 

 

It becomes so much easier to objectively identify the patterns, triggers and tendencies that tend trip us up the most, and/or where we can make impactful improvements in our eating choices and patterns.

 

The ladies in The Nourished Mind program have gotten a ton of quality information from using their food journals (the same one as I’ve given you here RLF Daily Food Journal 2016).

 

 

The information they recorded has helped them see, without guilt or judgment, where they were most likely to make poorer decisions AND to be able to relate those decisions to a distinct cause. This in turn gave them the information they needed to come up with a strategy for dealing with those moments/triggers.

 

 

Honestly, most of the time a little more planning and scheduling gave them an easy solution for avoiding those pitfalls.

 

 

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BUT they wouldn’t have been able to identify what needed to be done to help themselves out if they hadn’t recorded several days in a row to objectively see what was really going on in their lives!

 

 

So while it’s a little tedious, food journaling can be one of your biggest allies in creating a healthier lifestyle, getting closer to your body composition or performance goals, and just generally feeling like you are more in charge of your circumstances and less blown about by life.

 

 

Food journaling puts you back in the driver’s seat!

 

 

Now, some people have a tough time using food journals because, well, they don’t like what they see, or are embarrassed about what they’re really eating or doing. It’s often pretty easy, especially for women, to attach feelings of shame and guilt to food and our eating habits.

 

 

Here’s what I have to say on the subject:

I can’t emphasize enough that all of the food journaling you do and behavior change exercises related to your food intake and eating habits is 100% Shame-Free.

 

Recently, I read a great quote from Josh Hillis in his book, Fat Loss Happens on Mondays, which can help shift an embarrassed-to-write-it-down mindset into a more pragmatic one:

 

“If you’re judging you food journal, you need to grow up.

 

Beating yourself up is the opposite of taking responsibility.

 

Taking responsibility with food is looking without emotion at actions that work or don’t work for your goals.”

 

 

What I encourage you to do, this week and from here on forward, is to approach food and your eating habits more objectively—like they are facts or pieces in the puzzle of your fitness, not ‘good or bad’ things.

 

 

Stay mindful about your attitude towards food—it could be the perspective shift that allows you to move forward more at peace with your nutrition habits and any needed changes.

 

The big picture goal in using your food journals in the weeks to come is this: to look at which actions are working for your goals and which ones aren’t.

 

 

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So if you haven’t started, or you’ve been feeling resistant to using the food journal, I hope this blog post has given you some reasons to reconsider and maybe a little motivation to start journaling tomorrow!

 

 

And…

 

 

**For the next 8 weeks, I’ll be sharing practical and actionable steps and strategies to get your diet back on track and start creating a more ‘Livable Diet’–learning to eat in a way that meets your needs and your wants without actually dieting.**

 

If you’re not already on my email newsletter list, you can sign up here:

 

==> http://bit.ly/RLFWeeklyFitTips

Don’t miss out on the real-life, reasonable, realistic steps you can take, too, to create your very own ‘Livable Diet!’

 

 

Trainer Tip Tuesday: Commit to being Curious

It’s Trainer Tip Tuesday!

Today’s Tip: Commit to being Curious–permanently curious.

 

Simply accepting that our bodies will always be changing can be a huge source of relief.

 

 

I can’t tell you how many women I’ve worked with held onto an ideal based on their weight or size in high school or college—in their heads, they thought they had get back to that body in order to be okay.

 

 

I TOTALLY get that. I spent so many years trying to cram myself back into my 22 year-old, really slim and lean body…but even by the age of 23, that was impossible. By 23, I’d had a huge ovarian cyst removed, and my abdominal skin was never the same.

 

 

After raking myself over the coals for 9 years of 20 lb fluctuations and then one baby, I finally surrendered that former ‘perfect’ body concept.

 

4 weeks

 

I started by saying, “Well, let’s see what I can do with what I’ve got now.”

 

 

 

There was so much relief, freedom and empowerment in just allowing myself to ‘see what I can do’ with the body I have.

 

 

It’s a saying that has allowed me to grow through another pregnancy, changes in lifestyle, changes in diet and training plans, aging (yes, that!) and just generally ‘morphing,’ as us humans do over time.

 

 

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And the openness of the perspective of being curious about what’s possible versus trying to achieve a very specific or certain physical outcome that makes the journey a positive one that can be enjoyed, rather than a harsh struggle to ‘dominate’ ourselves and control the outcome of any dietary or exercise efforts.

 

 

Just saying, ‘That was my then; I’m making the best of my now,” can create a greater sense of flexibility; it’s permission to let go of rigid standards and do what works best now.

 

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Being curious gives us a chance to enjoy and explore and grow with our bodies rather than desperately seeking to contain and control them.

 

 

 

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And I know choosing the route of peace has given me great relief the past few years. Funny enough, that’s when the best physical changes came about, too.

 

 

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Choosing curiosity over fear is making the journey so much more enjoyable.

 

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the ONE question we need to ask.

There is ONE question we need to ask ourselves.  ONE question that can make a huge difference in our choices, and therefore our results.

 

 

This is THE question we really need to ask anytime we want to make a big change or start something new, and I think it’s a question that many of us kind of skip over in the hurry to just do that next big new thing!

 

 

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I remember about 10 years ago I wanted to change my hair—specifically, I wanted to go red/auburn rather than the blond highlights I’d been sporting for the few years prior. So I did!

 

 

With the help of a quality hairdresser, we made me a redhead in the course of a couple of hours.

 

 

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Awesome, right?!? Hmmmmmm…it was awesome until most of the color had washed out of my hair in the first 10 days and I was scrambling to get the right shampoos and conditioners to make it last longer.

 

 

It was great until the third week when all of my gray hairs came sparkling out for all the world to see—and even at 31, I had lots of them.

 

 

 

By the fourth week, I realized there was no way I could reasonably maintain this hair color without a huge amount of energy and expense. So I went back to the more manageable blond (gray hair camouflaging!) highlights.

 

 

And then what….

 

 

 

There was the time I threw myself into training for a marathon in 6 months—except I wasn’t in shape AT ALL and ended up with a stress fracture 3 months in.

 

 

 

Seemed like a great idea in the beginning, when I was going to raise money for charity and lose 20 pounds of post-breakup weight gain!

 

 

 

And then what….

 

 

 

Then there was the time right after I’d gotten married, and my husband was stationed in Germany while I was still living in Seattle, finishing up the school year before (hopefully) moving to Germany with him, when I felt the need to ‘get skinny’ by exercising more and taking Hydroxycut. This was back when Hydroxycut was the full-ephedra variety—before people figured out this caused cardiac issues.

 

 

 

 

I lost some weight/leaned out a little, but not a ton since I wasn’t changing my diet—the pills were going to do the work for me!—but I gained a nasty temper, borderline anxiety attacks, a manic response to everything which added to my insecurities instead of making them go away.

 

 

 

 

Even so, I kept taking Hydroxycut for a while because it was a great pre-workout stimulant (insert face palm here), I didn’t think I looked good enough, and I was afraid of what would happen if I stopped taking it.

 

 

 

 

In each of those situations, and so many more, I just acted—took drastic action, in fact—without ever stopping to consider what would happen on the other side of that decision—And Then What??

 

 

 

 

It’s like when we go on a diet. We are all kinds of charged up to make a big change in our weight, our appearance and we just can’t wait to feel and look better! We throw ourselves in, full steam, and do what it takes until we finish the program or hit the right number on the scale.

 

 

 

What we so many times forget, or just neglect, to ask is: What happens AFTER I finish this diet/challenge/program?

 

 

 

 

We do the 21-Day Fix, investing the roughly $140 for the kit—because this is going to FIX things!

 

We lose weight and inches.

 

We get compliments.

 

We feel accomplished…And then what?

 

 

What happens the next 21 days?

 

 

 

Do you do another 21-day fix, or do you go back to your old habits and regain all you lost—including some confidence?

 

 

 

We decide we’re going to follow one of the Herbalife or Shakeology plans, complete with all the necessary products, for a month.

 

 

We lose weight—because we’re definitely taking in fewer calories and maybe getting the ‘help’ of some appetite suppressants.

 

 

But the plan isn’t sustainable. It doesn’t account for birthday parties, and social occasions, and it costs a small fortune that really isn’t in your monthly budget.

 

 

 

And then what?

 

 

 

Do we try to find a way to keep up with the cost of these products?

 

 

Do we just go back to our old habits? Do we turn to another, less expensive weight loss product to help us ‘keep it off?’

 

 

 

The one question to ask before we throw the baby out with the bathwater, before we spend a bunch of money on a weight loss kit, challenge, plan, pill, potion or program: AND THEN WHAT?

 

 

 

 

What will we do on the other side of that choice and effort?

 

 

What will we do when the challenge is over, or the diet has reached it’s desired effect?

 

 

If we take a pill, potion, prescription or supplement system, do we plan to take it FOREVER?

 

 

 

When we stop taking the product, and I seriously doubt any of us plan to take a weight loss supplement all the way into old age, WHAT HAPPENS THEN?

 

 

The biggest problem with all these diet and weight-loss programs, products and approaches is that they are simply designed to be temporary.

 

 

 

They were never built, or meant to last. They were created to provide a financially lucrative band-aid.

 

 

 

 

But what about when we start with small habit changes, like we’ve been talking about lately? When we are able to make roughly 26 of those small habit changes over the course of just one year, we can also ask And Then What?

 

 

 

Then we are on a successful, sustainable path towards maintaining a healthy weight and body composition, not to mention sparing our sanity and our pocketbooks.

 

 

 

We are in the process of finding the true-forever solution—the one that fits us best, adapts to our lifestyle, that we like and have ownership of, that’s what.

 

 

We know ourselves, we trust ourselves, we are in charge of ourselves—and it’s freaking awesome.

 

 

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THAT is something no diet, pill, potion, program or challenge will ever be able to give us.

 

#BYBY2016

#beyourbestyou

Why habit change is the best diet in EVER.

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“We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

~ Aristotle

 

 

 

HABIT:  An acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.”

 

 

 

At its most basic level, a habit is something we do over and over that feels normal to us.  It’s something we do without much thought or deliberation, and this can really work in our favor or against us!

 

 

 

 

Why do habits matter for all of us?

 

 

 

 

Well, it’s like what Arisotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.”

 

 

 

If we repeatedly do things that are unhelpful to our health or relationships or overall well-doing, then we are creating an unhealthy way of being—that has both internal and external consequences.

 

 

 

And when we repeatedly do that which is more helpful, or healthful, our whole human being responds—mind, body, spirit.

 

 

 

So what we do, at it’s most basic level (habits) each and every day shapes our experience of life. 

 

 

 

scheduling for the win!

 

 

How many things do you do habitually on the average day?

 

 

 

 

If you really think about it, TONS.  Tooth-brushing alone is a normalized pattern of behavior that has a huge health impact—not to mention it’s part in our appearance.  And most of us have been doing this since early childhood.

 

 

 

 

I’ve spent A LOT of time reading about and considering the impact of habit on the way we eat and live and comparing it with the ‘diet’ approach to living.

 

 

 

Having dieted SO many times myself, and witnessed the ups and downs of friends, family and clients through the classic all-or-nothing, binge-and-restrict diet cycles, I just had to wonder the BIG WHY:  what was it that made these diets fail?

 

 

 

Habit. 

 

 

 

Following someone else’s (hardcore and arbitrary) rules can have some effect for a while.  But unless those diets are adopted at the smallest levels into a person’s daily life repeatedly, they are doomed to fail—they won’t ‘stick.’

 

 

 

 

Really, I have yet to find someone who says: “I’m going on this diet, and I’m going to do it FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.”

 

 

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By contrast, when we adopt little, do-able, agreeable behavior patterns and include them repeatedly in our daily lives—because we WANT to, those changes ‘stick.’

 

 

 

We just end up doing them enough to make them our new normal.

 

 

 

“If an egg is broken by an outside force, life ends. If broken by an inside force, life begins. Great things always begin from the inside.”

 

 

 

Now kicking out or ‘quitting’ an unhelpful habit (I’m staying away from the terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’ on purpose) is just plain tough. Ask anyone who’s tried to quit smoking—cold turkey/’just say no’ is very rarely effective.

 

 

There are plenty of studies that have come up with conclusive scientific evidence that it takes between 21 and 60 days to make a new habit ‘stick.’

 

 

To the best of my knowledge, there’s not one that has conclusive measurements for how long it takes to BREAK a habit.

 

 

So the easiest way to make real, helpful, agreeable, lasting changes in how we eat, think, feel and behave is to focus our efforts on making one small behavior pattern (habit) change at a time.

 

 

Imagine you started a systematic approach of changing one small behavior every two weeks for the rest of the year. 

 

 

–>Maybe those new habits involved changing the portion sizes of foods you eat.

 

–>Maybe those new habits involved eating a higher number of fruits and vegetables you eat each day, or influenced how you shop at the grocery store.

 

–>Maybe those new habits involved drinking fewer high-calorie drinks, or prepping your food ahead of time so it was always ready-to-go, or enjoying treats a couple of times a week naturally instead of every day?

 

 

 

What would the impact of those collective changes be?

How would your life be different this time next year?

How would YOU be different this time next year?

 

 

 

This is why I created and structured The Nourished Mind program as a series of habit changes that have a built-in accountability factor (calls with me).

 

 

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Like I’ve said many times before, we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater;  we want to make our changes as tolerable and meaningful as possible so that they stick.

 

 

I also want you to feel successful and confident in YOUR ability to continue to make and monitor those healthy habit changes and their positive impact on your life and health.

 

 

 

When you get systematic practice making these changes in the way you act AND think, you are empowered with the tools to shape your own life and body on YOUR terms in a way that makes sense to you and just plain WORKS. 

 

 

If you’re ready to stop dieting and start thriving, The Nourished Mind 12-Week Coaching Program is for you.

 

**LAST CHANCE!  Sign up closes TONIGHT at midnight, PST!!**

 

Check out the details about the program, and get signed up here: http://bit.ly/TheNourishedMind

 

**LAST CHANCE!  Sign up closes TONIGHT at midnight, PST!!**

 

 

 

 

Let me just leave you with one last thought:

 

 

 

If you started making one small habit change at a time, at a rate of one every 2 weeks for the next year for a total of 26 different habits, how would your body and your life be different?

 

 

 

 

Isn’t it worth finding out?

7

Oh SNAP!

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If I’m being completely honest, I’ve been struggling the last few months with a great deal of stress and stress management. 

 

 

Out of all the pieces of the fitness puzzle, stress management is my weakest…so it probably makes sense that I spent so much of my adult life eating my emotions.  

 

Nothing like a quick fix, right?!?

 

 

Our landlord informed us at the end of September that she needed us to move out so her single son, who just finished university, could move in.

 

 

We’d been in our house and town for 6 ½ years, and it was the only home my kids had really known (Taylor is 10 and Dempsey is 7).  We’re pretty rooted in the community, so staying in our town was been a priority, but it wasn’t easy at all to find a new home for a family our size just a few weeks before the holidays.

 

 

The house hunt took almost 2 months to turn up something that would work well for us, and we found an amazing house—only to run into a few bureaucratic hangups in the process.

 

 

It’s been a lot to deal with–the uncertainty, the move the week before Christmas, having family visit from the US right in the middle of all the chaos, the unpacking and readjusting to a new home and new neighborhood.

 

 

 

I’m telling you all this because throughout the entire ordeal, I put my own best advice and practices to use:

  • getting in the small workouts when the main one/regularly planned one doesn’t happen,
  • taking moments to appreciate the small pieces of joy in each day,
  • strategizing on Sundays to keep on track with both my kids’ needs, work responsibilities, doctor’s appointments, vet appointments, and all the usual household stuff in order
  • writing in my gratitude journal every morning and night

 

 

But one of the most useful practices that’s gotten LOTS of use is my SNAP technique—which I’m sharing with you!

 

 

 

 

SNAP is my way of interrupting impulse behaviors and redirecting my energy towards the positive and productive. 

 

 

 

 

SNAP stands for:

S — STOP

N — Notice

A — Ask

P — Pick and Proceed

 

 

 

STOP:  Stop means just that; stop right where you are, stop what you’re doing, interrupt the behavior you’re engaging in/about to engage in.

 

 

 

Stop and pause and breathe.

 

 

 

NOTICE:  Notice how you’re feeling.

 

 

Notice the feeling of your breath—is it rapid and shallow (only filling your lungs), or is it slow, deep and calming?

 

 

 

Notice the feeling in your muscles—are they tense and rigid, or soft and relaxed?

 

 

Notice your posture—are your shoulders ‘up in your ears,’ or are they sitting in a lower, relaxed position.  Is your chest open, or are your shoulders rounded forward?

 

 

Notice the feeling in your true stomach:  are you feeling true hunger cues?  Is your stomach upset? Is it full or is it empty?

 

 

Notice your mood.  Are you happy, sad, stressed, lonely, angry, relaxed or bored?

 

 

 

ASK:  Ask “What do I really need right now?”

 

 

Do you really need something to eat?

 

 

If I’m not truly physically hungry, then what is it I’m hungry for?

 

 

Do I need a break or a time-out?

 

 

 

Do I need to talk?

 

 

 

Do I need to get some stress out?

 

 

Do I need to stop and think for minute?

 

 

PICK and PROCEED:  Pick what course of action you’re going to take to meet your need, and Proceed.

 

 

Consciously, purposefully pick what you’re going to do next, then do it.

 

It doesn’t have to be ‘perfect,’ it just needs to be intentional.

 

 

 

–>The point is to get ourselves into the habit of being self-aware, of interrupting old, unhelpful behavior patterns and tendencies, and to put us back in our own power. 

 

 

 

 

–>The point is to put us back in the position of being the pitcher, not the batter—of choosing the direction of our lives rather than just responding to what happens around us. 

 

 

 

There have been plenty of times lately I’ll find myself wandering mindlessly back into the kitchen, looking for something…a treat, a munchie, some chocolate, some wine…and I then as I reach for a cupboard or shelf, I’ll think ‘Oh, SNAP!’ 

 

I stop.

 

I think: what am I feeling right now?  I notice my physical sensations.  I notice my mood.

 

I ask: what am I really hungry for right now?  I find an answer (it’s almost always not food).

 

I pick what action to take next, and I go with it.

 

 

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I’ll be 100% candid here:  The ASK part is the hardest, especially for us women who are supposed to take care of so many things and people ahead of ourselves. 

 

 

 

We are so often expected to be selfless and serving the needs of others, and sometimes we’re conditioned to believe that when we serve our own needs it’s selfish.

 

 

So we often turn to other means of soothing ourselves—like turning to food—as a way of dealing with some feelings or needs.

 

 

Naming what we really need when we’re reflexively conditioned to turn to food can be a new and unfamiliar practice.

 

 

It can take some extra ‘brain sweat’ at first—the answer to “What am I really hungry for?” may not be ‘on the tip of your tongue.’  It might take a some ‘turning inwards’ to explore your feelings, which can also take time and practice.

 

 

 

It might bring up some difficult feelings. 

 

 

 

 

THESE FEELINGS ARE ALL NORMAL AND OKAY PARTS OF THE PROCESS.

 

 

 

 

But it may be a little scary at first, and you may be uncomfortable with the feelings that come up.  I know I am from time-to-time.

 

 

I encourage you to be brave, to practice self-compassion and set aside self-judgment. 

 

 

 

We are all works in process, and the fact that you’re even reading this shows that you are invested in the process of becoming your best you—that you are committed, brave, and capable of doing the hard work when it’s needed.

 

 

What I’ve found is the more I practice ‘asking,’ the better I get at it.  The answers come more easily and quickly as my self-awareness improves.

 

 

Like riding a bike, the more you do it, the better you get at it and the more automatic the activity becomes.

 

 

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After I ASK, I pick.  Sometimes I walk away, sometimes I drink a glass of water, sometimes I’ll write down my thoughts/feelings, sometimes I’ll call my dad or a good friend to talk out what’s bugging me.

 

And sometimes, if it’s a case of me trying to avoid doing something tedious or unpleasant, I’ll just go tackle that task and get it over with.

 

 

Lately, I’ve been putting my legs up the wall and practicing crocodile breathing if I can’t get outside for a walk, because I know what I’m hungry for or needing is resolution to our housing crisis—and that’s not going to be found through eating or drinking anything.

 

 

So I do what I can to give myself a little more peace, and ‘Legs Up the Wall’ is a quick and easy go-to.

 

But that choice of calming method starts with “Oh, SNAP.”

 

If you’re finding yourself mindlessly or habitually heading for the kitchen or a certain aisle in the grocery store, try using the SNAP technique to break your pattern:

 

 

STOP

NOTICE

ASK

PICK and PROCEED

 

 

 

And tell me how it works for you!

 

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SNAP is just one of the techniques we use in The Nourished Mind coaching program to learn a healthier way of thinking about food and eating, and to cope with issues like stress-eating and emotional eating.

 

 

 

 

**NOW OPEN FOR ENROLLMENT. Sign up ends this Friday at midnight, PST!**

Sign up here==>  The Nourished Mind

 

 

Nourish your body. Nourish your mind. Love the skin you’re in.

 

#TheNourishedMind: The last diet you’ll ever need to go on.

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